Dr. Ramzi Odah
Israeli occupation forces opened fire on Al-Jazeera correspondent in Jerusalem, Shireen Abu Aqleh, on Wednesday morning May 11, at the entrance to the Jenin refugee camp, while she was covering the attack of the camp by the occupying forces. Indeed, the martyr was known for her professionalism and her long experience in the media defense of the Palestinian cause, she also works for a large satellite channel known internationally. As the Israeli occupation forces continue their blatant attacks on journalists and media correspondents without any concern, as more than 55 journalists have been martyred on occupied Palestinian land since the second intifada in 2000, but the crime of he assassination of Abu Aqleh had another impact on the occupation state, in that Abu Aqleh is considered an American citizen, which necessitated the intervention of the US State Department and its call for a rapid joint investigation. and transparent about the murder of Abu Aqleh.
A few days ago, the Palestinian investigative authorities announced the results of their investigation, according to the results of the autopsy and the testimonies of witnesses present at the scene of the crime. These findings condemned the occupation army, Israeli snipers firing directly at Shireen, and some independent international investigative sources pointed to clear evidence condemning the occupation army for targeting Abu Aqleh. The Netherlands-based consortium of international researchers “Bellingcat”, has published an analysis of audiovisual evidence collected from social media. The report found, according to The Times of Israel, that the evidence corroborated testimonies that Abu Aqleh was killed by Israeli fire.
On the other hand, the Israeli occupation army was reluctant to announce the results of the investigation. First, the army statement announced that Shireen had been killed by Palestinian gunmen, then, after increasing international pressure on him, it was announced that she could have been killed by a gunman. Israeli elite because of the proximity of martyrdom to “Palestinian militants”!. So far, the Israeli side has not presented any evidence-based version. On the other hand, in an unexpected announcement, the Israeli military police announced, according to the website “Times of Israel”, that they did not consider that there were any suspicions of crime during the exchange of fire, and necessarily , the army will not investigate the murder of Abu Aqleh.
In this context, several observations can be made in this regard, as follows:
First: there is no confidence in the results of the Israeli investigation, as the culprit is not expected to incriminate himself. On the contrary, he will try to justify his behavior and hide the facts. This is exactly what happened in most of the crimes of the occupation, for which Israeli investigative commissions have been formed. For example, in the crime of Palestinian-American citizen Abd Al-Majid Asaad; He is an octogenarian who was detained overnight near the village of “Galgia” in occupied Ramallah, and left handcuffed in the freezing cold, which resulted in his death from a heart attack. In the results of Israel’s report on the incident, it justified the octogenarian’s detention as a “suspicious” incident, especially since the man had no ID! The report considered that leaving the old man handcuffed in the biting cold was because the soldiers thought he was asleep and didn’t want to wake him! The report demanded that the occupation soldiers who perpetrated this incident be reprimanded and not given any leadership position for two years! .
Second: At a time when the crimes of the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian people are escalating, the occupying forces are avoiding any investigation into these crimes. As evidence, according to a report by Human Rights Watch, in 2021, through October, Israeli security forces killed 67 Palestinians – nearly three times the number for the whole of 2020, including 14 children – and injured more than 1,000 others with live ammunition. According to OCHA, this total includes peaceful protesters and bystanders, as well as those who allegedly attacked Israelis. Settlers also killed five Palestinians, injured 137 and damaged property in 287 incidents through October 22. The number of incidents of settler violence against Palestinians in the first half of 2021 more than doubled compared to the first half of 2020 and even more than in all of 2019. What is strange is that in all these crimes there was no commission of inquiry!
Third: In all their crimes against the Palestinian people, the Israeli occupation forces reject any international or joint investigation with the Palestinian side. However, they forcibly agreed to the US request for a joint investigation with the Palestinian side into the Abu Aqleh martyrdom incident, but the Palestinian leadership refused for logical reasons, the most important of which to announce being the absence of an impartial body overseeing the investigation, and secondly: the reluctance of the Israeli occupying forces over the decades to form any committee to investigate its repeated crimes against the Palestinian people. If the crime of Abu Aqleh deserves a joint commission of inquiry, then all crimes of the occupation killing Palestinian civilians also deserve commissions of inquiry, including the crimes of the murder of academic May Afaneh and the child Ali Abu Sarah and mother Ghada Al-Sabatin, and many other daily crimes that the occupation forces leave uncharged. Only stories of suspicion and allegations of stabbing or attempt to run over.
Fourth: The occupation government insists on covering up the facts of Abu Aqleh’s martyrdom. Because in short, he wants to avoid international blame, and he also wants to avoid opening investigations with his soldiers while giving them strict orders to kill and abuse what he calls cases of ” hazard detection”. Indeed, in cases where Palestinians have been martyred in confrontation with the occupation army, the Israeli media has been quick to publish videos that prove their confrontation, but in the Abu Aqleh incident, until Presently, no video footage has yet been released from the Israeli side documenting the incident, despite the presence of Israeli military aircraft at the scene of the incident, which documents all events on video.
To sum up the article, the important question that arises, in such incidents remains to what extent the occupation government can hide the facts concerning its repeated crimes, and to what extent can the international community form commissions of international investigation into the repeated crimes of the occupation and question those responsible for these crimes!